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In Due Course

Genomics is just picking up steam, the Broad Institute's Eric Lander tells The Atlantic. As a comparison, Lander notes that it took some 75 years to go from understanding that microbes cause infectious diseases to the widespread implementation of antibiotics to treat those diseases. "With genomics, we're maybe halfway through that cycle — something like the situation around 1915, when early, highly imperfect antibiotics were first introduced," he says.

Currently, genomics is working on getting a sort of parts list together for what genes are involved in certain diseases and how those genes interact in networks. While Lander says that this is not a cure for any disease, having such knowledge is influencing treatment, though it is still early days there too.

New targeted drugs for cancer, he tells The Atlantic, have been able to make certain tumors disappear, though as the tumors mutate, they find a way to recur. But now, he says, researchers can target those new mutations as well and take a lesson from how HIV has been treated to turn it into a chronic disease.

"What made it become a chronic, treatable disease? It was a combination of three drugs. Any one of those drugs alone, the virus could mutate its way around," Lander says. "But with the combination of all three, the chance that a virus could find its way around all of them was vanishingly small. That's what's going to be happening in cancer." He adds, though, that it will take time and investment.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.